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Notre Dame professor John Gaski to donate millions to college

SOUTH BEND — John Gaski, the University of Mendoza associate professor whose writings were cited in the screed of the alleged Buffalo grocery shooter, poured millions into Notre Dame through a family estate .

Internet records from the university’s gift planning website show that Gaski is the first faculty member to “plan for his own successors in perpetuity” through an endowed professorship agreement established in 2008.

The ‘Gaski Professorship’ – funded by the estate of Gaski and his parents, Edwin J. and Jane R. Gaski – is expected to reach ‘well over $4 million’ when fully realized, according to an archived version of the site. University website.

The story remained online until May 13, the day before the mass shooting in Buffalo, but has since been deleted.

A Notre Dame official said the story was removed to avoid confusion over university endowments, but confirmed that Notre Dame reached an agreement with the associate professor in 2008 to create an endowed chair to be funded at its dead.

Officials further said the expected contributions from the Gaski family had no effect on their handling of the faculty member’s writings after they were linked to the Buffalo shooting suspect.

What did Gaski write? Here’s what we know about the associate professor

Gaski’s writings came to light last week after social media posts drew attention to a 2013 article published by Investor’s Business Daily and referenced as one of dozens of quotes used by the alleged Buffalo shooter. to justify his white nationalist views.

The FBI is currently investigating the massacre, which occurred in a predominantly black neighborhood of Buffalo, as a racially motivated hate crime and violent extremism.

Gaski on Monday declined to answer questions about his and his family’s planned contributions to Notre Dame, saying “I don’t think this is the right time for me to do an interview.”

Notre Dame issued a public statement last week after the associate professor’s connection to the Buffalo shooting was released. Officials, however, refrained from condemning Gaski’s published work.

“We are appalled that a 2013 paper by Notre Dame associate professor John Gaski has been cited as the author of the heinous killings of innocents in Buffalo, the university said in a May 19 public statement. . intentions, we deeply regret that his words were used to support a doctrine of racial hatred. We urge all, at Notre Dame or elsewhere, to speak and act in such a way as never to give rise to hatred and violence.

A spokesperson for Notre Dame declined Monday to answer questions about why the university did not address the content of Gaski’s writing in its statement last week.

The associate professor graduated from Notre Dame and has been a faculty member since 1980, according to the university.

Gaski’s name, photo and resume were still listed in the Mendoza College of Business yearbook Monday afternoon. References to the university phone number and email address of the marketing instructor, however, appear to have been removed. A spokesperson confirmed Monday that Gaski is still an employee of the university.

The Gaski family estate

Notre Dame’s donation planning website once featured Gaski and her parents alongside other notable donors. University officials have confirmed that the web page, accessed by The Tribune via a cached screenshot, has been removed from the Gift Planning page.

“We had seen reports that appeared to indicate that Gaski was an endowed professor, when in fact he had created an endowment in the name of his family, said Dennis Brown, a spokesman for the university. “To avoid confusion, the page has been removed.”

A cache, or archived version of a webpage, accessible through Google, includes a 400-word description of the Gaski family’s intended contributions along with a photo of the associate professor. The website cache was captured on May 13, the day before the Buffalo shooting.

The website details the establishment of an “Edwin J., Jane R., and John F. Gaski Professor of Marketing Science” at Mendoza College as a way to ensure a greater legacy for the faculty member.

As described by the website, Gaski encouraged her parents in 1975 to include Our Lady in their will, leading the couple to commit half of their estate to an endowed scholarship.

A screenshot of an article no longer listed on Notre Dame's website about John Gaski.

Then, in the mid-2000s, the family revised their giving intentions after meeting with a university gift planning officer who suggested that the combined Gaski estates would be large enough to fund a university-level chair in the amount of $100,000. $3 million or more.

Edwin Gaski worked for more than 40 years in the steel mills in Gary, Indiana, and Jane Gaski was a Catholic elementary school teacher, according to the website.

Obituaries show Jane Gaski died in November 2016 in South Bend and her husband died years earlier in February 2000.

A joint will between Edwin and Jane Gaski, obtained by The Tribune, shows the couple left their assets to their son, John F. Gaski.

If John Gaski did not outlive his parents, the will directs the Gaski estate to Notre Dame for the establishment of an “Edwin J., Jane R. and John F. Gaski Scholarship Fund”, supporting “deserving students” of business university. .

“We don’t feel safe”:Black Americans feel trauma in the wake of the Buffalo shooting

The university’s overall endowment, supported by various contributions from alumni and donors, is valued at approximately $13.3 billion.

Funding for the Gaski Chair, as the archived donation planning website explains, will be channeled to Notre Dame through the younger Gaski.

Brown confirmed in an email that the university reached an agreement with the associate professor in 2008 to establish an estate gift distributed to the university upon Gaski’s death.

The spokesperson said the Gaski family’s anticipated contributions had no effect on the university’s reaction to their employees’ writings and their use by the Buffalo shooting suspect.

Gaski’s writings are not disavowed

Days before social media posts about Gaski’s writing aired, Notre Dame released a statement of mourning for those killed in Buffalo and in a second mass shooting in Laguna Woods, Calif. That shooting is also being investigated as a hate crime after authorities said a gunman opened fire on worshipers at a Taiwanese church.

“The racial animosity that inspired the killings in Buffalo is the antithesis of everything we stand for as a people, as is the targeting of members of the Asian American community while in church. “, reads the press release. “We pray for an end to the divisive rhetoric that has led to a growing and unacceptable environment of hatred and violence that tears at the fabric of our nation.”

Notre Dame officials, however, have not explicitly denounced Gaski’s writing, which portrays racial justice advocates like the Reverend Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the NAACP, and former President Barack Obama as “the true fanatics” in the context of the 2013 trial of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

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In 2019, when a Kelley School of Business professor’s comments sparked ire for their disparagement of women, people of color and gay men, IU-Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel penned a lengthy statement titled “On the First Amendment”, condemning the professor’s writings and outlining actions the public university can and cannot take against its faculty.

University officials confirmed Monday that Gaski is still employed by Notre Dame. They have not spoken publicly about the existence of suspensions or other actions were explored.

Brown provided The Tribune with a link to the university’s academic articles, which govern administrative action at Notre Dame. The university can impose a “severe sanction” such as suspension, reduction of salary or dismissal for cause, including “a continuing and significant disregard for the Catholic character of the University” and “causing a notorious scandal and audience”.

These actions, however, cannot be used to deny a faculty member’s right to “academic freedom,” defined as “the freedom to teach and learn according to one’s obligations, vision, and training; the freedom to publish the results of his studies or research; and freedom to speak and write on public issues as a citizen,” according to the articles.

Asked if there are any policies preventing university officials from expressing their views on the content of Gaski’s writings, Brown said, “I won’t have anything more to add on that subject. beyond what we provided last week.”

The university’s failure to disavow Gaski’s writing was not well received by members of the Notre Dame community. Charlice Hurst, an assistant professor at Mendoza who is black, wrote a letter to The Tribune comparing the university’s response to Martin Luther King Jr.’s criticism of white moderates’ refusal to take a strong moral stance on civil rights .

Letters: Thinking about MLK’s words as Notre Dame fails to take a firm moral stance

“In the midst of gross injustices inflicted on Negroes, I have seen white churches stand aloof and content to speak irrelevant pious talk and moralizing trifles,” Hurst wrote, quoting the famous “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” by King. the exit from the 20th century with a religious community largely adjusted to the status quo, standing as a taillight behind other community bodies rather than a beacon leading men to higher levels of justice.

Although Gaski has declined multiple requests for interviews, Notre Dame’s Media Relations Office shared a statement last week on behalf of the associate professor.

“It is sobering that part of an article I wrote in August 2013 was quoted in the document composed by the Buffalo shooting suspect,” the statement said. “It was, of course, never my intention to incite violence in any way – in fact, quite the opposite. I am also appalled and deeply distressed that the information I have provided is associated in any way way to the horrible actions of this young man.

Gaski is quoted on the university’s archived gift planning website and discusses the high profile and importance of an appointed president position within the college of commerce.

With the creation of the chair of commerce, the website reads: “Gaski’s name will remain a part of the student experience as long as there is Notre Dame.”

Email South Bend Tribune education reporter Carley Lanich at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @carleylanich.